XACTIX and STS Created Module with Breakthrough Chamber Design and Improved Wafer Handling

Surface Technology Systems and XACTIX are pleased to announce the immediate availability of a new Chemical Vapor Etch (CVE) module for xenon difluoride (XeF2) gas. XACTIX and STS have cooperated to create a breakthrough chamber design and improved wafer handling to ensure the high throughput, uniformity, efficiency and uptime required to make XeF2 a viable process for high volume production.

XeF2 is a fast isotropic etchant of silicon, without plasma excitation, and has a high selectivity for silicon compared with a vast array of other materials commonly used in CMOS and other semiconductor applications. One of the main applications of XeF2 etching is the release of MEMS structures using a sacrificial silicon release layer. As a dry process, XeF2 etching eliminates device damage caused by agitation or stiction, often associated with wet etching. Together with low or non-existent attack on other semiconductor materials, the process results in increased yield, lower fabrication costs and higher performance devices.

David Springer, President of XACTIX explained, "Previously, in order to improve cross-wafer uniformity it was necessary to lower gas pressures and flows, or introduce a carrier gas. Lower gas pressures and flows reduce etch rates and throughput, while carrier gasses reduce efficiency and significantly increase operating costs. This new chamber design encapsulates the wafer in a smaller, symmetrical chamber which results in a very uniform and highly concentrated flow of gas over the wafer."

Eizo Yasui, CEO of STS stated, "By combining the expertise of both companies, we have succeeded in developing a unique XeF2 process tool which offers customers significant competitive advantages for volume production applications. Our CVE module has been through extensive testing, and the first order for a three module cluster tool has been received and will be shipped this summer."

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